Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Will Andrej Sekera rebound?

It’s now been 13 months since Andrej Sekera tore his ACL during game five of the 2017 playoffs when he-man Ryan Getzlaf crashed him into the boards.

The hit was innocuous seemingly just a routine finishing of a check.

Sekera went on to miss a large chunk of the Oilers past season and ended up getting shut down with two games left in the season having only played 36 games for the team.

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Reg — as he is called by his teammates — wasn’t quite himself last season. At 32 years old, he never looked comfortable on the ice when he returned to the team in December. His mobility was choppy at best, and he was a clear step behind everyone else.

No matter for how long, anytime a player misses the start of a season with any injury they are at a significant disadvantage. They’re to play catch up against players who — like in Sekera’s case — have months of hockey already under their belt.

When the Oilers signed Sekera to a six-year, $33-million contract in 2015, he was expected to come in and help solidify the team’s defence.

He did just that in years one and two putting up 65 points in 161 games. His relative Corsi was 2.26 per cent higher than of his teammates and his expected goals for relative to his team was 4.54 per cent.

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This past year those numbers dipped to 1.53 per cent and a brutal -4.15 per cent .

Sekera admitted to Jason Gregor in February that he felt limited in what he could do.

“It is frustrating. It is part of the game, but it takes time to heal. I’m just trying to do what I can to make sure it feels normal, but it takes time. Right now I’m just trying to play my best with what I have.

“…the mobility (in his knee) is not what it was, so I’m trying to come up with some other movements. When I turn one way it doesn’t react how I’m used to. I need to finish the season strong, have a good summer workout so I don’t have to have the brace, which is limiting me,” Sekera said.

He needed to wear the aforementioned brace to cut the chances of re-injury which didn’t seem to work given his re-injury at the end of the year.

Things went from good, to bad for the Slovakian defender and his year ended with him suffering an injury to his surgically repaired knee.

What’s left in the tank?

Sekera won’t get better any time soon. All players regress with age and they start to see a significant drop in play after age 32.

He has three years left on his deal and has one more year with a full no-movement clause. In his last two years, he will give a list of 15-teams that he can be traded to.

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A player with a $5.5-million cap hit should be able to play good, top-four minutes. Sekera needs to be a top-four defenceman for the Oilers and the end of the year saw him struggling with soft, third-pair assignments.

Will he get back to it? Time will tell.

Sekera needs a good summer to fully recover and get that knee back to whatever his 100 per cent will be moving forward.

However, I’m not going to bank on him being the player he was in years one and two of the deal.

  • LordRuggles

    I think he is from Slovakia, not the Czech Republic, though at the time of his birth it was Czechoslovakia…
    In any case, from all reports he was playing well for Slovakia this summer, so I am hopeful.

  • Serious Gord

    The odds of him getting back to his former peak – with this injury and at his age is pretty much nil.

    If he can get back to 75% that would have to be considered a success. But who picks up the other 75%?

    • HockeyYoda

      Maybe. I’m not a doctor, so I would say he bounces back if he fully recovers from his injury. Either way, his chances of a bounce back are way better than Lucic’s in my opinion.

        • crabman

          @Serious Gord,

          Thanks for the link. After reading the article attached I’m left wondering if a similar study has been done with hockey players.
          I do feel cautuously optimistic Sekera will be able to rebound. It said 80% of athletes get back. And the majority get 80% stregnth back. Not 100% but good. It also says that players coming back on average only play less than 2 seasons post 8njury but the NFL league average is less than 4 years to stary with. In all nothing too damning. The fact that and ACL injury is more devistating to na NFL player also needs to be considered. The action of planting a foot on grass and astroturf, twisting and pushing off is a lot more pressure on a knee than skating, even changing direction when skating.
          Sekera looked better at the Worlds than he did with the Oilers last year and I’m hoping a full off season of training will be enough to get Sekera back enough to contribute and be a trading chip another team will want for the last 2 years of his contract.

        • HockeyYoda

          Yes, because Lucic is getting slower in a league that’s getting way faster. Too late to improve his stride and too old to just be quicker. IMO the best thing he can do to bounce back is to at least do better at his physical intimidation game.

      • DoubleOhhStoned

        no, years ago, someone got paid to teach me how to read. I read the article. I didn’t really get any information from it that hasn’t already been written a dozen times before. We get it. Sekera got injured. He’s 32. He’s not likely to improve as a player. I just don’t understand why the same thing needs to be written over and over again.

      • Gravis82

        as a stakeholder in the site Robin, you should be concerned that recently there have been much more comments like this on ON. People actually take the time to tell you they are unhappy with the article, this is not something most people do when the read an article they dont like. This is something people do when they are unhappy with a series of prior articles and finally feel its time to say something. ALso, only people who actually are invested in this site will take time to express these opinions, as those who don’t care will move on. Its a free customer satisfaction survey and an astute management team would not dismiss this.

        You need to bring in some more writers asap. I am not saying the current ones are bad, but losing Willis and Lowetide was a big hit and no one has replaced the type of content they created. It shows.

        • I’ll jump in here. Firstly, if you ever have suggestions for guys you think we should approach, just let me know. I’m happy to get that feedback. Something constructive outside of “I hate this” is always welcomed and my email ([email protected]) is always open. As for writers, we’re always looking for people. I bet sometimes the people you’re thinking of we’ve already talked to them and it wasn’t a fit for whatever reason, or that we’re going to revisit things with them later. Different flavours and opinions are what I’m after. But over the last year, we’ve added Dusty Nielson from TSN, Cam Lewis, Kyle Cantlon from Vice, Tyler Yaremchuk from TSN, Christian Pagnani, OilersNerdAlert writes from time to time, and we’re always looking for more. So it’s not like nothing new has come in. Actually, on average, we’re putting out around 175 articles per month because we have more writers. Three years ago, that number was closer to 80 per month.

          I know you guys like to talk about the comments here but it’s also important to remember that we’ve pivoted with technology as well. Is it perfect? No. Lots of room to improve, and our wishlist is long, but what I promise you is that the traffic in the comments section here isn’t really reflective of the site as a whole. In fact, the comments section at ON accounts for about 1% of the monthly total for pageviews. Don’t believe me? Ever read an article through your phone on Facebook? Those comments go directly to that thread on our FB page and not here. For this particular article, there are another 15 comments there so far and sure to climb. We actually get more interaction on articles than ever before, but it just happens in more than one place now. We had actually talked about just using Facebook as the way to comment on the site but then voted against it so that people can still use pseudonyms and get creative with their handles. We like that you guys can say what you want (within reason) without having strangers go through your FB page so we kept it.

          Back to content, there’s no doubt that we’re all Willis and LT fans, I’m super pumped for the opportunity they have, but they’re not allowed to write here anymore so on we go. The point of this isn’t to sound dismissive or anything like that, because I really am interested in constructive criticism, but it’s just funny to read about how the business is doing when you’re only guessing. But back to your point about writers, if there’s a style of content or a guy that you think we should try to find then I’d be happy to check it out if I haven’t already. Send me a list and I’ll be happy to go through it.

          • Bills Bills

            Thanks for the comments BM. I will say that much of the comments on this site are made to generate drama. The negative comments are by a few squeaky wheels with nothing better to do.

            The concern I have with some of the writers here is their clear bias. It is tiring to repeatedly hear the same people complaining about the exact same thing.

            As for the content quantity, that’s great but I would take quality over quantity. The reason people get tired of Lucic articles, because everyone of your writers wrote one. It wasn’t necessary, there was nothing new and many just used at a reason to dump on the team and management.

            So decide what kind of site you want. But I would rather read one Jason Gregor article 3 times than 3 blogs written by 3 people who don’t offer anything other than the same negative narrative.

  • OilersBro

    He looked like his old self at the world hockey championships! If he can maintain that pace for 82 games, i don’t see why he can’t be our 3rd best D-man

  • Rama Lama

    I though that he did himself a favour by playing at the worlds…….he looked like he was turning a corner, no pun intended. With a summer to rehab and get back in shape, I suspect we will see him back to form in late September.

    If this was a physical type player I would be worried, but his game is more positioning, defending and puck management, which he does quite well in spite of his bum leg……..he is not part of the problem IMHO.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Sekera will be his old self, you have to remember the guy had major knee surgery and missed camp and had to mini of have his own camp as the games were going, it takes a long time to catch up when the season is half over and you just getting started. Guys who have their knees and shoulders done are always protective the first while because they are worried about getting banged and re-injuring themselves, so they have to get over the psychological and mental aspects of the injury and then they play better as time goes on and their confidence in their injury healing. Sekera will be fine